Heart block is an electrical system disease of the heart unlike CAD which is a disease of the blood vessel. Heart blockage symptoms, unlike myocardial infarction, includes fainting, palpitations and light headedness or dizzy spells.
A heart block has different types or levels of the electrical conduction system.
The SA node blockage is a complete blockage of the conduction.
The AV node, the secondary pacemaker, would beat hard enough to maintain consciousness at a resting stage. The SA nodal block rarely has any heart blockage symptoms.
AV nodal block is divided into 3 degrees: First degree AV blockage; Second degree blockage (type 1 is known as Wenckebach block and type 2 is the Mobitz II – not always below the AV node – aka infraHisian) and; Third degree AV block or Complete Heart Block.
Infra-Hisian block describes the blockage of the distal conduction. This includes: type 2 or Mobitz II; left bundle branch block which speaks of the left anterior and posterior fascicular block and; right bundle branch block. The Mobitz II is considered most important and serious for the progression could lead to a complete heart block.
The heart blockage symptoms could be any of the following however, most of the time, there are no symptoms at all.
Fainting or Syncope – the patient may be doing well with no signs of feeling weak or nausea or exhaustion. The patient may be engaged in something simple, as in sitting down talking and relaxing, when all of a sudden the patient will lose consciousness. This is the most common, and alerting, heart blockage symptom.
Dizziness or lightheadedness – this could happen when the patient is a little bit more active although nothing that’s too physical. A simple walking around the house or walking from the living room to the kitchen and the patient could feel dizzy or light headed.
Chest pains – because the heart is having a hard time pumping the blood oxygen through the body, the pressure on the chest would be like an elephant sitting on the chest or a stabbing pain on the chest. Sometimes the pain is like that of a huge pressure being applied on the chest that it makes some patients cry in pain. This is a common heart blockage symptom as well as a heart attack symptom.
Shortness of breath – is not only a heart blockage symptom but also a heart attack symptom. The SOB is due to the lack of blood oxygen level because of the blockage or the inability of the heart to pump properly. The shortness of breath does not only happen when the patient is doing anything physical but also while at rest.
Treatments are available for heart block and it is depending on the type of heart block.
The first degree of heart block needs no treatment at all except perhaps to treat the electrolyte imbalance.
The type 1, second degree heart block is treated by focusing on the underlying condition.
Type 2, second degree heart block could potentially be more life threatening and therefore treatment is more crucial. Administration of medication such as Atropine and even an implantation of a temporary pacemaker could be done with this condition. Should the condition turn to a third degree heart block then a permanent pacemaker may be inserted.
Third degree heart block almost always requires a permanent pacemaker to help regulate the heart beat. This pacemaker is to be replaced every 10 or so years because, just like a battery, the pacemaker runs low on fuel.
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